Have you heard the story of the Christmas spider? I can’t remember exactly where I first heard it but every year I think of it. It’s supposed to explain why we put tinsel on a tree.
Upon research I have found it to come from Eastern Europe. Popular in the Ukraine where they decorate the trees with a lucky spider ornament. The version I know is slightly different…
A kind widow lived in a house in the woods, she took in any children who needed a home as she had been lonely after the passing of her husband. She had little to offer but she had a lot of love and wisdom.
One day, a pine cone fell in through a window. The children asked to keep it and put in a pot hoping to have a tree in time to decorate for Christmas.
As if by magic, it did grow into the most beautiful tree, just in time.
The widow had very little money, what she did she put to the care of the children. As the festive season approached the children began to complain about how little they had and how unfortunate they were compared to others (as children are prone to doing).
On Christmas eve, when one child was being particularly miserable about their scarce offerings. The widow sat them down together in front of the fire and explained that although they didn’t have a grand dinner, beautiful expensive decorations or fancy gifts to give; The woods provided enough for them to have food in their bellies, fire wood for the hearth, Ivy and Holly to decorate with and most importantly: They had each other, which meant they had love and family. All the presents, decorations and grand christmas feasts didn’t ensure that at all. In fact, even with the most beautiful decorations, grand dinners and gifts, some people still feel incredibly lonely at christmas. So the children were reminded of the many ways in which they were wealthy even if they didn’t have all the treasures they pictured, there are some things in this world worth more.
Unbeknown to the widow, the spiders who lived in her rafters were listening. They liked the widow as she allowed them to stay providing they kept to their own space. Hearing her wisdom and kindness as she reminded the children of their humble fortune. They hatched a plan. When all had gone to bed on Christmas eve the spiders decorated the tree with their silk.
On Christmas morning when the children came into the room they were delighted to see what the spiders had created. And more so, when the clouds parted and the sun shone through the window. The glittering webs turned to silver and gold. From then on the widow always had enough money to support the children and the children didn’t ask for expensive trinkets or grand dinners because they had learnt that kindness was the most valuable gift of all.
In an age where consumerism drives the unstoppable christmas machine, this story reminds me of all I have to grateful for, that I don’t need to spend a fortune in order to feel blessed. When I feel the pressure to spend in order to have a good time. I think of the spiders in my home (mostly false widows). I doubt they take much interest in my doings. They can still stay, as long as they keep to their own spaces.
Peace out witches.
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Love Kate xxx